Implementing Salesforce—the world’s biggest and most popular CRM system—can be a daunting prospect, especially with the risks that come along with things such as data security. With this in mind, there will be a number of things you need to consider ahead of your Salesforce Implementation.
In this article, we’ll help guide you through this process and show you the required steps, some great tips, and our favorite tools to make sure your Salesforce implementation runs smoothly and efficiently, and, most importantly, is safe and secure.
Save by Investing
Implementing Salesforce can be a lot like building a house: you have a choice between investing and spending a bit more or cutting back and saving money. And like building a house, you need a strong and secure structure to reduce the risk of something going wrong in the future.
With a Salesforce implementation, you will find that it will usually end up costing you more in the long run if you do go with the less expensive route. There are many cases where businesses have decided on a cheap implementation—even attempting to do it themselves without professional help—and then ended up, a year or two down the line, having to wipe their system completely and start again. For more information on what options you have when choosing the best person to implement your Salesforce system, check out our DIY vs hiring a pro blog.
Prepare Yourselves and Your Customers
Preparation is incredibly important when aiming to safely implement Salesforce. It will raise your team’s awareness and protect your customers’ data as you migrate to your new system. It will also open up a number of great opportunities, including implementing new internal processes, cleaning, refining and updating your data, and reconnecting with your customers.
Prepping Your Team
Having a new system can be an exciting but also possibly daunting prospect for employees. The best way to combat the latter is to keep your team informed and start training them on how to use Salesforce. What you don’t want is for your team to immediately misuse the system as soon as you have Salesforce up and running. Trailhead is a great tool for this, as it provides a test environment or “playground” so that users can play with and get used to the system before it’s officially online. You can even stay up to date on the progress of your team members via the Trailhead tracker and assign modules you feel they should focus on!
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In most cases, during a Salesforce implementation, you will be getting data from your existing system—whether it be from another CRM or simply spreadsheets—and then importing it into Salesforce. So this is a good time to perform a thorough review to check for duplicate, redundant, and incomplete data so that your brand-new system won’t be bogged down by a ton of messy, unnecessary, or incorrect input.
As for your customers, people like to know what data you have on them as well as have the option to control what that data is used for. This has been of central importance in Europe over the past couple of years since with the introduction of GDPR, any personal data and marketing preferences now need to be confirmed by the customer.
This is not a bad thing, as it gives you the opportunity to update your customers’ data and even enrich it via some creative forms for customers to fill in courtesy of your marketing team. This will increase the quality of data you are putting into that brand-new system and will also build trust with your customers as they are made aware that you are taking the safety and security of their data into account during your Salesforce implementation.
Plan Your Implementation
The most important step in your Salesforce implementation is planning. And a good plan will give you the proper overview you need in regard to what is involved in the eventual implementation. This not only lets you structure your implementation but also carefully review the areas that may be risky or in need of extra attention.
Players & Goals
The first step in your Salesforce implementation plan will be focused on identifying who will be involved in the project and the project goals. The key people you need to identify are the project sponsors, project owner, power users, and, finally, whoever will be looking after the system once it’s up and running—aka the Salesforce system administrator. Your project goals should run parallel with your business goals, thus identifying the areas you want Salesforce to improve.
Your second step will be to create a development and rollout plan, which will specifically define what will be built and when it will be released. Now, there is likely going to be a fair amount of changes and development during the actual Salesforce implementation, so trying to figure out and record what will be released and when can be very daunting! There are some great tools that can help you with this, which we’ll talk about a bit later.
This part of the plan is without a doubt the biggest part of any Salesforce implementation and can change multiple times throughout a project. And that is why having a decent project plan is so important, as it helps you adapt to unforeseen changes and helps the implementation run smoothly despite any such changes.
The final step will be planning your post-project actions. This primarily covers further training of your team but also includes reviewing the new system with them and discussing what changes you’d like to make going forward. As you get to know the system and its capabilities, you will want to make further improvements. Achieving this demands careful planning and understanding of what impact any new changes will have on your current system so that you can safely implement those changes.
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Make Use of the Tools Available
Implementing Salesforce is a lengthy process, and it can be difficult to consistently keep the system safe and secure as you develop it. There’s a multitude of tools out there that can help you achieve safety during your implementation. Some tools are more valuable than others, but project management, impact analysis, testing, and system backup tools are really the main ones you’ll need in order to keep your Salesforce implementation safe and secure during development.
A project management tool will allow you to visualize your project by mapping out the requirements and ensuring that things aren’t being missed. One such tool is Panaya’s Release Dynamix for Salesforce, which gives you the power to put your Salesforce implementation plan into a system and then adapt and adjust the plan without the fear of it negatively impacting your implementation.
By using the requirements management feature of RDx, your team can input the individual requirements and monitor their progress. This really helps your developer and testing teams with building the system. RDx for Salesforce even has a release management feature, allowing you to release certain features in stages. This, again, reduces the risk of a development being missed. It also allows you to potentially release features to your team a few at a time so that they can get used to the system without being overwhelmed!
Impact analysis is very important before any Salesforce implementation, as you need to be aware of how any planned changes or new development will impact your system throughout the implementation. Salesforce features connect like a web, with features such as objects being dependent on other objects, so an understanding of how this dependency is mapped is key to reducing any impacts to those objects. RDx covers this as well via dependency mapping combined with unique change management features that highlight any other areas your new configuration/development may affect.
Testing is a vital part of any project whether it be updating an old system or, as in this case, implementing a brand new Salesforce org. And as many testers know, this process can be long, strung out, and difficult to manage. Testing tools should allow you to plan what features need testing, monitor the progress of testing, and flag a feature if it needs to be reviewed.
Panaya’s RDx does exactly this. With its combination of requirements management features and dependency mapping, you can ensure that all your testing is done smoothly. And if any changes are needed, they can be released safely for when you finally go live!
Finally, in order to back up your system, Salesforce has a great tool that you can use to store your system set-up. This is called a Sandbox, which will back up your entire system when created or refreshed. Combined with regularly backing up your data (which is a good practice anyway), your team can rest assured that they have everything securely stored in case anything goes wrong during the implementation.
Safety should always be a priority, especially with a project where you are handling people’s data, such as a Salesforce implementation. Careful planning and preparation before you start the project will give you the structure required to prevent the risk of anything negatively impacting your project and system. Additionally, taking the right steps during the implementation, using helpful tools, and not cutting corners will help make your Salesforce implementation not only safe and secure but also efficient.